Happiness is worth finding and sustaining.
Free of responsibility and life’s serious issues, childhood can be a magical, carefree place where real happiness abounds.
Once we hit our teens, depending upon the high school experience, that happiness can expand into a deeper meaning where you realize you are only young once and the enjoyment of high school especially with friends you knew since childhood and perhaps falling in love for the first time, are something to never be repeated.
For many, pure, unadulterated happiness ends when the pressures of college achievement, job expectations and marriage commitment frame reality. Make the wrong decision in any of those areas and future happiness can become as elusive as a beautiful butterfly in flight on a breezy day.
I had a friend once privately express to me once that he had a great childhood, so-so high school, great early college years and even with great disappointments he was still happy because he knew those set backs were temporary.
Once he became an adult and within his circle felt great pressure to marry and he married the wrong person, within six months he sensed he would never be truly happy again. There was no honorable escape and now both extended families were involved, he had a job he hated and a child on the way.
In all the time that I knew him afterwards, before life sent our trains in very different directions, he was clearly never happy again.
What about you? Are you happy?
It’s both a tough and easy question to answer right? I mean, you either are or you aren’t.
It can be a little more complex question to answer when your tentacles are in the world of the adults. We then can become categorically happy. We have a fantastic job, enjoy great friends, wish we were married to someone else but love our children deeply. We are part of a group or faith and that brings moderate life reassurance as well.
Being fulfilled in three out of four categories can still make us have a sense of strong happiness.
Once the categories of discontent number around 50 percent, I think it’s then that we walk under an umbrella to protect us against the gathering storm clouds above.
Heaven forbid if it drops below 50 percent and now you are unhappy in say three of the five categories spoken in the example above, now strong unhappiness can begin to seep in. The problem in the world of the adults is that so often it can feel permanent in that change can bring upon massive consequences to you, your mate or your children.
What can we do if we feel stuck? How can we find happiness again?
One of my favorite motivational speakers, Mr. Robert Chen is the founder of Embrace Possibility and author of The Dreams to Reality Fieldbook. He helps people who feel stuck move forward by guiding them to see other possibilities for their lives.
The advice and categorical approaches to breaking down and defining happiness are endless. For our purposes here, let’s focus on just three thoughts that stood out to me by Mr. Chen.
Build Great Relationships
Research and experience show that connecting with others and building and keeping strong bonds make people happy. Our sense of belonging is a key indicator of our happiness. We all want to belong to a group and our happiness correlates with our status within that group. Think about your happiness level the last time you got accepted to a group you really wanted to join (your company, a sports team, a certain club).
In this age of social media, it’s easy to have a lot of “friends” and “connections”. As with all things, quality is more important than quantity. A good way to test quality is to make a list of people you feel comfortable calling at 3 o’clock in the morning knowing they’ll be genuinely interested in helping you out.
The more names you have on that list the better. If you’re not sure whether a friend of yours makes that list, you can always test your results by calling them at 3 am. Don’t be surprised if your list gets shorter after you explain to them you were only “testing” them.
Live with Meaning
Many people see life as a zero-sum game and they live life accordingly. They see someone else’s fortune and luck as taking away from their own fortune and luck. Not surprisingly, people who feel this way are suspicious and selfish. They also tend to be less happy even if they are already well-off.
Most wealthy and successful people become heavily involved with philanthropy in the second half of their lives. They give their time and money for the greater good of others. The desire for meaning is what makes people go through beatings and arrests as activists. Volunteers that give up paid opportunities are no less noble. No matter the group, they all do it to benefit someone other than themselves.
One word of caution on being selfless. Don’t overdo it. When you sacrifice yourself, you burden those who care about you because not only will they worry, they will eventually be forced to care for you.
“If you want someone to be happy, tell them to win because the pursuit of winning, success, mastery and achievement for its own sake makes people happy.
This is why you have happy workaholics. As long as they keep moving up, they’ll put up with almost anything.”
I agree whole heartedly with what Robert Chen said especially in terms of giving back to others and trying to achieve very important goals.
Since writing for Female Competition International, my happiness meter has shot through the roof, in part because of what we are trying to accomplishment.
In this cultural shift, the female competitors of the future who will be highly sought after are the ones who can build a following on the Social Media and post our articles that feature them. We in turn take their traffic and sell it to the corporations as we are doing as of this writing.
If we win, then the freestyle girls who graduate from the Women’s Wrestling College Association (WCWA) and our beloved female submission wrestlers in the not too distant future will not have to take their clothes off or get beat up in an MMA cage to make good money wrestling.
How can you not feel good about that?
Happiness is a fascinating subject because achieving and defining it can vary as much as the number of people that you speak with. Here we didn’t delve into faith in God, but for many, that is critical to finding happiness.
This is a subject we will share with you again and again. But for now……..
We’re happy to let this marinate.
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Sources: brainyquote.com, Wikipedia, fciwomenswrestling.com, fciwomenswrestling2.com, FCI Elite Competitor, femcompetitor.com, photos thank you Wikimedia Commons.